Puy lentil and leek salad with goat's cheese and Serrano Ham
To prepare the lentils see the recipe on the tab for an earlier Puy lentil salad. The difference with this recipe being that I had a medium sized leek left over and I cooked it with the lentils which gave a tangy sweetness to the base of the salad. I then used hard goat's cheese and Serrano Ham, you could use Bayonne or Parma varieties instead, alongside tomato dressed with fresh basil.
A really simple and tasty summer salad with quite a filling foundation provided by the lentils.
I tend to use leeks quite frequently having been brought up with them. My father used to enter leeks in the local show around the end of September. I am not 100% sure of the rules but the white 'button' should be no bigger than 6 - 8 inches long, it should be straight sided and pure white without splits or discolouration.
The leeks were grown in a trench and the 'recipe' for the soil and feed was a jealously guarded secret with tales of pig's blood and strong ale or stout. When it came close to the show itself the gardener would choose half a dozen of his best plants and protect them against pests, excess rain and sabotage. Its true - you couldn't make it up! Once the eve of the show arrives the leeks are pulled and bathed in milk over night, roots are combed out and that is preparation complete. It is then down to the independent judges to decide on the winners.
In the local village show - New Silksworth Working Men's Club Annual Leek Show - there were usually around 180 - 200 entries and everyone received a prize of decreasing value according to finishing position. However, that was not the end because the leeks were then made into soup to be consumed by club patrons on the following lunchtime. Overall a very exciting weekend!